Navigation Links
A-maize-ing double life of a genome
Date:7/14/2014

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use 'doubles' of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a 'genetic snapshot' of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome a 'whole genome duplication' event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these 'copied' genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimising photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them 'fuelled' the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

'Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new 'toolbox' of copied genes is very difficult,' said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University's Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. 'With crops like wheat it's not yet possible for us to unravel the 'before and after' of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally 'whittled down' to create the modern maize plant farmed today.'

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these 'duplicated' and 'non-duplicated' descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

'Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,' said Dr Kelly. 'Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimising photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has 'sculpted' copies of genes to create one of the world's staple food sources.'


'/>"/>

Contact: University of Oxford News Office
news.office@admin.ox.ac.uk
44-186-528-0528
University of Oxford
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Green Oakley Cluster to double OSC computing power
2. Hammerhead shark double whammy
3. Heart study suggests city center pollution doubles risk of calcium build-up in arteries
4. Doubling the information from the double helix
5. Agricultural expert outlines path for developing nations to double food production, meet 2050 demand
6. Double the pain: RUB biologists find the cause of pain in the treatment of fair skin cancer
7. Paddlefishs doubled genome may question theories on limb evolution
8. New process doubles production of alternative fuel while slashing costs
9. Brain enzyme is double whammy for Alzheimers disease
10. Nanoparticles added to platelets double internal injury survival rate
11. Did a forgotten meteor have a deadly, icy double-punch?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016  Based on ... Frost & Sullivan recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging ... & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation. IRIS, ... North America , is poised ... rapidly growing diabetic retinopathy market. The IRIS technology ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces ... personality, Joey Fatone . Las Vegas , ... --> Las Vegas , where Joey appeared ... The new video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics Show ... the Wocket booth to meet and greet fans. ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... BELL, Pa. , Jan. 25, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... recognition system at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, ... Border Protection (CBP) identify imposters attempting to enter ... do not belong to them. pilot testing of ... out initially at three terminals at JFK during January 2016. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... of its new stem cell treatment clinic in Quito, Ecuador. The new facility ... and trauma applications to patients from around the world. , The new ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... NX Prenatal Inc., a US based ... for early warning of adverse pregnancy outcomes, announced ... by Dr. Thomas McElrath of Brigham ... Medicine,s (SMFM) annual meeting held in ... The presentation reported initial positive top-line results regarding ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...  Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) a leading ... , Allergan,s CEO and President, will be featured as ... the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February ... York Palace Hotel in New York, NY ... can be accessed on Allergan,s Investor Relations web site ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... LATHAM, NEW YORK... Marktech Optoelectronics will feature their ... in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from February 16-18, 2016, and at the healthcare-focused BiOS ... InGaAs PIN diode standard packages feature a TO-46 metal can with active areas of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: